Xiaomi Mi 9 - Amazing start for Chinese smartphone

The Xiaomi brand is the next Chinese manufacturer after Oppo, OnePlus and Huawei that enter the Dutch market with a lot of power with smartphones. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is the first smartphone that the manufacturer offers here with top specifications for a razor-sharp price.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Price €449 or €499

Colors Black, Purple, Blue

OS Android 9.0 (MIUI 10)

Screen 6.4 inch OLED (2340 x 1080)

Processor 2.8GHz octa-core (Snapdragon 855)

RAM 6GB or 8GB

Storage 64 or 128GB

Battery 3,300mAh

Camera 48, 16, 12 megapixels (rear), 20 megapixels (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

Format 15.8 x 7.5 x 0.8 cm

Weight 173 grams

Other fingerprint scanner behind screen, usb-c dongle, dualsim

Website www.mi.com/nl 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Cameras
  • Value for money
  • Performance
  • Negatives
  • No headphone port
  • MIUI

Xiaomi smartphones have been available in Dutch (web) stores for a while, but until now those smartphones were gray imports; officially Xiaomi does not sell its smartphones (and other gadgets). Until recently, because Xiaomi has now officially started offering a few products in the Netherlands: the Mi Fit 3 sports bracelet, the affordable Redmi Note 7 smartphone and this Xiaomi Mi 9 top smartphone.

Xiaomi's timing to officially launch in the Netherlands is smart. Well-known manufacturers such as Oppo and OnePlus have long since ceased to offer the astonishing value for money that made them big in Europe and have slowly but surely moved into the high price segment. Oppo and Honor (Huawei's sub-brand) have also recently started up here again, but Xiaomi seems to be able to handle these two brands in terms of value for money. Xiaomi has already proven this with the Pocophone F1 (which is unfortunately not yet available here) and this Mi 9 smartphone, which offers the most powerful specifications and is available from 449 euros. That's an absurdly good deal. Not as absurdly good as Pocophone last year. But still absurdly good.

Well-known Chinese manufacturers have long ceased to offer the price-quality ratio with which they have become big in Europe

Specifications of the Xiaomi Mi 9

The Mi 9 features the fastest and latest Snapdragon 855 processor, giving the smartphone better performance in benchmarks and daily use than many top smartphones that appeared in the past twelve months with the Snapdragon 845 processor. The cheapest version of the Xiaomi Mi 9 has 6 GB of RAM, which is fine. The €499 version has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage instead of 64 GB. Because the storage cannot be expanded with a memory card, it might be wise to invest a few tens extra in the variant of 499 euros.

The housing is also not inferior to the most expensive iPhones, Samsung Galaxy smartphones and luxury versions of Huawei. The housing is made of glass and can therefore charge wirelessly. Xiaomi even has a 20-watt wireless fast charger available for the Mi 9, which you have to buy separately, though. The box does contain an adapter and USB-C cable that also charges the smartphone exceptionally quickly with 27 watts. With a charged battery you can do about a day. Unfortunately, that is not exceptionally long. The capacity of the battery of 3,300 mAh is not very high. Today, many top smartphones of comparable size come with a capacity that is above 4,000 mAh.

At the back you will find three cameras, with a striking rainbow-colored rings around the main camera. A beautiful color gradient can also be seen if you let the smartphone reflect light.

The only thing missing from the housing is a 3.5mm jack. As a cloth for the bleeding, Xiaomi has included a dongle in the box to connect your wired headphones.


At the front is a 6.4-inch full-HD OLED screen with an aspect ratio of 19.5 by 9 and a drop-shaped screen notch to keep the device size acceptable. Behind the screen is a fingerprint scanner, which works reasonably well in terms of accuracy and speed compared to other in-screen fingerprint scanners, but is still a big step back compared to a traditional physical fingerprint scanner.

The image quality is also not much lower than the most expensive smartphones with which the Xiaomi Mi 9 tries to compete. The screen is bright, even in bright daylight, and the display quality does your beautiful photos and videos justice.


Because I am also positively surprised about the camera! At the back you will find three cameras. The main camera is Sony's 48 megapixel IMX586 sensor. You will also find this on the Honor View 20, and we were already impressed by this lens while reviewing that device. Of course, the performance depends on how Xiaomi controls the Sony lens with software, but photos on this Mi 9 are razor sharp and the device is able to filter out a lot of noise in dark environments.

The other two lenses mainly provide functions such as photography with depth-of-field effect and zooming without loss of quality. There is also a night function, which takes a photo with a slow shutter speed. So plenty of options and excellent image quality for the photos, although he has to acknowledge his superiority in the Huawei P30 Pro, which has deeper zoom levels and, thanks to the image stabilization, makes better use of clear night photos. Xiaomi doesn't have to be ashamed of that, since the price tag of the P30 Pro is twice as high at the time of writing.

Android 9 with MIUI 10

The Android skin that Xiaomi has installed over Android is a bit of a swallow. With this, Xiaomi follows the bad example of other Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Huawei (EMUI) and Oppo (Color OS). What is it with those Chinese smartphones? Of course, the bright childish colors and cluttered layout without an app overview are a matter of taste. Although it's not mine. Fortunately, this suffering can still be alleviated with Nova Launcher.

However, the irremovable junk that you get in the form of advertising apps and downright unnecessary virus scanners are very bad. Also under the hood there is a lot of messing around with the operation of Android. Not good for stability though. Finally, there is still a world to be won for Xiaomi when it comes to support, because the company's reputation when it comes to Android and security updates is not very good. Although in fairness I must say that I did receive the March security update while reviewing. In May, that is. Xiaomi would do well to take an example from the Chinese competitor OnePlus or HMD (maker of the Nokia smartphones that run on Android One).

Alternatives to the Xiaomi Mi 9

To be honest, I haven't come across any alternatives that offer as much value for money as the Xiaomi Mi 9. The Honor View 20 comes close, but is actually slightly less good in all areas. This also applies to the EMUI shell (which is also on Huawei smartphones). The biggest shortcoming of the Mi 9 is therefore not resolved with Honor smartphones. In terms of performance, the Mi 9 runs circles around Nokia smartphones in the same price range. With Android One, however, Nokia has a big advantage over the Mi 9. In addition, these Nokias have a headphone port. Similar performance, but with a better Android version, can be expected from the OnePlus 7 that will be presented soon. However, the prices of these devices are expected to be almost twice as high, making them no longer a budget-friendly alternative.


Xiaomi takes the place left by OnePlus, the Mi 9 is a smartphone with the best specifications, but for half the price. Without compromise. But there are a few drawbacks, which also affect some smartphones in the most expensive price segment: the Android shell (messy and with advertising) and the lack of a 3.5 mm jack. The battery capacity could also have been slightly higher.

Thanks to Belsimpel.nl for making a review copy available.

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